The NFL has announced a new format for the Pro Bowl, the annual All-Star contest which has suffered a decline in prestige in recent years. The game will no longer feature representative teams from the National Football Conference and American Football Conference.
Instead, the players for the game will be selected by vote by fans, players and coaches, without regard to conference. In a press release, the NFL offered the example of the top six quarterbacks in such voting being selected, regardless of their team or conference.
A Pro Bowl Draft, conducted by two leading vote-getters and two champions from the NFL's own fantasy football competition, will apportion players to the two teams. Two Hall of Fame players, the great San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, who won Super Bowls with the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, will help conduct the draft as "alumni team captains".
The Pro Bowl Draft will be broadcast on the NFL Network on 22 January, four days before the 2014 Pro Bowl is played in Hawaii. The NFL said the coaching staffs for the game would come from the losing AFC and NFC divisional playoff teams with the best records.
Domonique Foxworth, the president of the NFL Players Association, said: "As players, we wanted to keep the Pro Bowl to honor excellence in individual performance and connect with the fans in a different environment. To do that, I worked with a group of players to map out new ideas.
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said: "We were very receptive to the ideas that Domonique and the players put forth. From there, our office worked closely with him in developing the concept. The players made it clear that they wanted to continue the Pro Bowl and were committed to making it better than ever. We think these changes will enhance the game for both fans and players."
The NFL and NFLPA also announced a number of rule changes for the game.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk